NEW ORLEANS -- The Philadelphia 76ers players gathered at a team dinner in New Orleans after a difficult Tuesday, when Ben Simmons was thrown out of practice and then temporarily suspended.
After laughing for a while and trying to forget basketball for a bit, the 76ers put together a strong opening showing, blowing out New Orleans Pelicans, 117-97, on Wednesday. This was a great team effort that showed good team chemistry.
Joel Embiid scored 22 points and was able take the fourth quarter off. "That's an evolution for me because when I used go on the road, I would rather stay at home and use my phone to play video games.
The 76ers' bench was energetic during a huge fourth-quarter run that saw the team's bench lead a surge that won the game. Furkan Korkmaz scored his fourth 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 22. Tobias Harris and Embiid welcomed him to the bench.
Coach Doc Rivers stated that the players have been "normal" and the only thing that has been abnormal is the time they have to speak to the media afterward, when they are asked questions about Simmons. It's about basketball and growing together and they have done a fantastic job of that."
Rivers stated that it was unlikely that the team would practice on Thursday because the team flight is not scheduled to land in Philadelphia before 2 a.m. Simmons is expected to resume team activities for Friday's home opener against Brooklyn Nets.
Simmons was out, and backup point guard Shake Milton was injured. Second-year point guard Tyrese Maxiey scored 20 points in Simmons's place. Korkmaz took over the backup pointguard role.
Harris had 20 points and 12 boards. Harris said that Harris' focus was always on the game. Harris said, "And really trying out to figure out how they can maximize that type of opportunity."